The Benefits of Agronomy

With Canadian farmers facing increasingly changing climate conditions, and western Canada still facing the drought conditions that have plagued much of 2023, planning ahead for the upcoming grow seasons is essential.

If your crops have been struggling, or if you’re looking to increase your yield in 2024, working with an agronomist is one of the best ways to discover what your soil may be lacking and different ways you can optimize your crops during the spring and summer. At Norstar Agriculture, we’re proud to offer agronomy services that allow us to tailor our recommendations directly to the needs of your farm, and help us partner with you to help build the best foundation for growth from the ground up.

Below, we’ll highlight some of the core factors that agronomy examines and assists farmers with, as well as the benefits of partnering with our team. Read on to learn more!

What is Agronomy? 

In the simplest terms, agronomy is the science of soil management and crop production. Agronomy examines agriculture from a holistic, integrated perspective and looks at details like soil properties, the needs of specific crops, the influence of regional climates, and a wide variety of evolving factors that can influence plant growth. Some of the most important factors agronomists look at are: 

Soil Management

Healthy soil is essential for successful planting and growing, regardless of where your farm is located. From the gray luvisol of northern Alberta to the bruinsols found in southern Alberta, knowing how to manage your soil is a game changer when it comes to revitalizing your crops. To help manage soil, agronomists assess soil health and look at details like texture, structure, fertility and pH levels. With a greater understanding of the foundation of a farm’s soil, an agronomist can then start to recommend tailored solutions with regard to strategic fertilization practices and more. 

Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is a fundamental practice for farmers and involves sequential planting and (you guessed it), rotation of specific crops over periods of time in order to enhance soil fertility, reduce the infiltration of pests that favour certain plants, and optimize your overall yield. Crop rotation demands a delicate balance of diversification and a fundamental understanding of soil chemistry to boost nutrients and ensure your current system best serves the needs of your agricultural practices. 

Water Management

Efficient water management, including supply and retention, is vital to producing robust crops, as is minimizing water wastage, especially during times of drought. Agronomists are skilled at taking current and historical water patterns into account, as well as the specific irrigation needs of your farm when compiling recommendations. 

Integrated Pest Management

Pest management is crucial to avoiding extensive crop damage and minimizing your lost profit each season. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) integrates biological, cultural, mechanical, and chemical control methods to manage pests. Agronomists recommend a wide variety of pest control measures, including crop diversification, companion planting, biological controls, and even chemical pesticides when necessary (it is rarely the preferred method of choice). Pest management is also crucial for sustainability and ecologically sound farming practices, both of which can have financial benefits for farmers looking to apply for government grants and more. 

Crop Genetics and Breeding

Finally, alongside soil and foundation work, agronomists are equally concerned with the science of crop genetics and breeding to ensure that your plants are as resilient and fruitful as possible. Agronomists select specific crop varieties with desirable traits, such as resilience to diseases, tolerance to environmental stresses, and enhanced yield potential, to maximize your benefit and promote a long-lasting, sustainable ecology that benefits your current and future crops. 

Plant for Success with Norstar Agriculture 

Norstar Agriculture is here to help Canadians across Alberta and Western Canada grow with confidence. Alongside a large inventory of fertilizing and plant nutrition supplies, we offer onsite agronomy evaluations and support. Learn more by contacting our team today!